Obama Endorses "Free Trade" and Peru Trade Pact that Unions Oppose
by TomP, Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 02:10:20 PM EDT
Obama said he would vote for a Peruvian trade agreement next week, in response to a question from a man in Londonderry, NH who called NAFTA and CAFTA a disaster for American workers. He said he supported the trade agreement with Peru because it contained the labor and environmental standards sought by groups like the AFL-CIO, despite the voter's protests to the contrary.
He also affirmed his support for free trade. "I am not going to say on a blanket basis that I'm going to vote against trade agreements," Obama said. "We cannot draw a moat around the u.s. economy b/c china is still trading, India is still trading."
David Sirota notes that Obama appears to be choosing the Hamilton Project ideology over labor:
The AFL-CIO does not support the Peruvian agreement, and the labor/environmental standards leave enforcement up to the Bush administration, rather than empowering third parties to enforce them (like corporations have the power to enforce investor rights provisions in these same trade agreements).
Obama is the first presidential candidate to officially declare his/her support for the NAFTA expansion moving through the Congress. His announcement is not necessarily surprising, considering he was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Hamilton Project - a Wall Street front group working to drive a wedge between Democrats and organized labor on globalization issues.
Change to Win, a coalition of 7 unions, including the Teamsters, LIUNA, the Carpenters, and UniteHere oppose this Trade Pact:
Change to Win Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Opposing the Oman and Peru Free Trade Agreements
June 15, 2006
RE: Oppose Free Trade Agreements for Oman and Peru
The United States Trade Representative has indicated that she will soon ask Congress to approve both the Oman and the Peru Free Trade Agreements (FTA). On behalf of the 6 million members of the Change to Win unions, I strongly urge you to oppose both of these Agreements, which follow the same failed trade policies of NAFTA and CAFTA.
Unfortunately, by using the same failed model as we saw in CAFTA, and actually making it worse, the USTR has failed to negotiate an agreement that will in fact better the lives of workers and the countries involved. We ask that you oppose both the Oman FTA and the Peru FTA.
This is a bad bill and it should be defeated. Haven't we learned from NAFTA?